Actor Sam Neill planted his original 2 hectare vineyard, the First Paddock site, at Gibbston in Central Otago in 1993. That vineyard has now been doubled in size and two more blocks added, the 3 hectare Alex Blocks vineyard perched above the Clutha River at Alexandra and the 5.5 hectare Redbank Paddocks site in the Earnscleugh Valley. Winemaker Dean Shaw crafts a stunning set of Pinot Noir wines under the Two Paddocks premium label along with gorgeous Pinot Noir and Riesling under the Two Paddocks Picnic label. A superb range of wines that impress with their detail and clarity.
The Fusilier Vineyard is named in honour of Sam’s father, Major Dermot Neill, a soldier in the Royal Irish Fusilier Regiment for twenty years before returning home to Dunedin, New Zealand, where he ran the family Wine & Spirit business, Neill & Co. Planted entirely in 2000, The Fusilier is 5.6 hectares of Pinot Noir, on rolling northerly facing terraces at the western end of Felton Rd and bordered by the vineyard of the same name. Soils on the terraces consist of deep alluvial fans, which are made up of varying depths of silt, sand and gravel layering all derived from mountainous raw schist parent material.
Very complex, complete and convincing Bannockburn pinot that delivers a fascinating array of pure red cherries, sappy and spicy complexity and a beautifully arranged palate that has long, fleshy and silky fruit presence. Exceptional pinot. Drink now. Screw cap. Rating: 96 Points; James Suckling
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